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John Scepanski

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  • McFarland Political Cafe March 14, 2015, report

    Jerry Collins

     3/14/15

     

    Dear Friends,

    Here is the report for the March 14 Active McFarland Political Café. We look forward to seeing you at the next café at the McFarland House Café on March 21. We will not be holding a café on March 28. That is the day of the Wisconsin Grassroots Festival, which we encourage everyone to attend.

     http://www.wisconsingrassroots.net/festival2015

    Also, on Thurs, March 19, Active McFarland will host a talk by Dane County Supervisor Patrick Miles and Lakes & Watershed Commission on Community Engagement coordinator Nick Simonson. The meeting will begin at 7:00 PM and be held in the community room of the E.D. Locke Public Library in McFarland.

    Attendees at the March 14 café:  Nate Altfeather, Ron Berger, Holly Ceelen, Denny & Jean Blackmore, Jerry Collins, Bob & Julie Crego, Brad Czebotar, Ann Kleinhaus, Ana Mengibar, Jessie Naze, Sharon Payne, Dawn Shegonee, Clair Utter

    1) Today’s café opened with a discussion of the tension between local and non-local activities, and between partisan and non-partisan activities, of Active McFarland. As an example, our Saturday morning café and sign brigade are more partisan than our Thursday night talks, which are more informational or educational. Also, some members are more interested in activities that directly affect the Village, while others are more interested in broader statewide, national, or even global issues. It was agreed that Active McFarland should embrace the diverse interests of its members, as long as those interests are consistent with the general principles or values of the group, such as a desire to protect the commons and promote citizens’ involvement in our democracy.

     2) Jerry raised the idea of hosting a gathering to view a documentary about Val Phillips, which is an example of a non-partisan active that could be sponsored by the group.

     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vel_Phillips

     Jean and Denny will explore the possibility of doing this with the United Church of Christ in McFarland.

     

    3) Dave, Ana, Bob, and Dawn are working on the development of a better way to network online communications between the various grassroots and progressive groups in the state.

     

    4) Clair passed out a schedule of local community meetings and encouraged everyone to get involved in upcoming deliberations about important decisions that will be made about the Village. The following meetings will be held at the McFarland Municipal Center, 5915 Milwaukee St.:

     

    Mon, March 16, 7:00 PM:  Plan Commission

    Wed, March 18, 6:30 PM:  Ad Hoc Transportation Committee

    Thurs, March 19, 9:00 AM:  Senior Outreach Services Committee

    Thurs March 19, 7:00 PM:  Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources Committee

     

     submitted by Ron Berger-- 

    Active McFarland: Exercising Democracy
    Email: [email protected]

    Website: www.activemcfarland.org or

    http://[email protected] 
    A Grass Roots Organization made up of people from the McFarland area promoting democracy at all levels of Government

     


  • Meeting notes for March 9, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for Monday, March 9, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, March 16, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hills neighborhood.  Draft agenda to follow.

     

    Be sure to visit our website and sign up for “What’s in YOUR Water?” April 11th.  Only three people have signed up so far!              deforestareaprogressives.nationbuilder.com      

    Come on!  Click on Home and then click on the What’s in YOUR Water? page.  Scroll down and RSVP.  Do it now.

     

    There were seven people at the March 9, 2015, meeting.  Ginny announced that Shawn Haney, Vienna town clerk, will be at our March 23rd meeting to talk about the manure digester and water protection.  Those of you who haven’t been to a meeting in awhile, please come so that we make a good impression on Shawn.

     

    Beth Trotter stopped by before the meeting got started on her way to the school board meeting, where she said they were going to talk more about the new “badge” system of career development for teachers.  Beth thanked Marcia and John for testifying at a recent school board meeting on behalf of the teachers.  The teachers really appreciated the boost from an outside source.  We discussed the school issues some more before the regular meeting got started.  Most of the DAP members present said they were going to vote against the referendum April 7th for various reasons.  One member said he was going to vote for the referendum. 

     

    There are other items of interest on the April 7th ballot, too: three school board members, Jason Hanson for municipal judge (DeForest and Windsor share a joint municipal court). The town of Windsor has three unchallenged town board members on the ballot and one sewerage district representative.  Most progressives endorse Justice Ann Walsh Bradley for re-election to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  There is also a referendum on changing the Wisconsin Constitution to elect the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.  The Chief is now chosen by seniority time on the court.  The change is widely seen as a ploy by conservatives and Republicans to remove Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson.  DAP recommends a no vote on that referendum.

     

    Bill passed out a draft of an evaluation form for the “What’s in YOUR Water?” event April 11th.  He asked for feedback and to discuss it more next meeting.  JohnSki reported on publicity emails he had written to most of the churches in the DeForest Times-Tribune church directory and the list received from Corie Hoffman at the village office of organizations in the DeForest area.  Ginny is going to post some posters.  There will be two ads placed in the DeForest Times-Tribune and the Hometown Shopper.  JohnSki will make sure all the Progressive Partners organizations and all of the DAP members on the email list get a notice and a promotion to sign up on the website and come to the event April 11th.  Bill will promote it on his canvassing trips too.

     

    Karen showed us about a dozen maps she has gleaned from here and there of industrial pollution in Dane County: pipelines, railroads, CAFOs (big industrial farm operations), etc.  About 1500 cities draw water from Lake Michigan.  There is talk of a pipeline from the Great Lakes to Arizona.  We discussed these topics extensively.

     

    The Wisconsin Grassroots Network seventh annual festival is scheduled for March 28, 2015, again at Wisconsin Heights High School near Mazomanie.  Go to WisconsinGrassroots.net for details.  Several DAP members are working on the festival again, as in past years, on sign-up, staffing tables, giving and facilitating presentations.  We will have an information table in the hallway.  John Stanley is organizing the info. table project for WGN.

     

    Bill said that many organizations such as Trout Unlimited, Clean Wisconsin, the Sierra Club, and many others are upset about the proposed state budget now under consideration by the Wisconsin legislature.  They are all petitioning and keeping as vocal as possible on the issues.  They emphasize over and over again how valuable it is to call, email, and write legislators.

     

    Come to the next meeting on March 16th and get involved.


  • LTE re school bond referendum & teachers' issues

    Letter-to-the-editor

     

    Dear Sir:

     

    Under the leadership of Superintendent Susan Borden, her staff, and our well engaged school board, we can look forward to a vigorous future in the DeForest Area School District (DASD): new and rejuvenated facilities, twenty-first century curriculum, professionally career oriented teachers.  Of the first two I am enthusiastic.  I am hopeful of the third.  Personally, I have never voted against a school bond referendum in my thirty-six year residency in DeForest.  I will vote for the referendum on April 7th.

     

    The case has been made convincingly for the referendum.  The needs were well thought out over many months with many cooks stirring the stew.  We need not review them further here.  A sound public school system is the best investment a progressive community can make.

     

    The facilities will augment the curriculum enhancement in science, technology, engineering, and math -- the famous STEM subjects we’ve been hearing so much about.  The new facilities will help to ground those emphases in the curriculum.  The new emphases bode well for solid economic development both individually as careers and jobs and collectively as business and industrial growth.  We can assume, as well, a corresponding development in the arts, citizenship, athletics and physical education – all hallmarks of a progressive public education system.  You can tell a lot about a community by its public schools.

     

    The only reservation I have is the future professional career quality of our teachers.  There is serious unease among a significant number of teachers in the DASD.  Some career teachers have already left for more lucrative careers in other professions.  Others are contemplating such a move.

     

    What good are professional quality facilities without an equally professional quality teaching staff?  It remains to be seen if the new micro-credential or “badge” system of teacher career development can match the old step-and-lane system.  Key to the success or failure of the micro-credential system will be pay scales that reward teachers enough to keep them on the job longer than five or ten years.  Will we continue to build a set of seasoned, dedicated, career-oriented teachers, or will we turn over our student body to a new set of less experienced teachers every year or so?  The new “badge” system is a gamble.  Without commensurate salary progression, career development is an exercise in futility in a community oriented, public school system. 

     

    My own daughter thrived in the DASD system.  I attribute that success to the professional, career teachers and related staff in the DASD, teachers sustained under the old, tried and true career development system.  You who have been here awhile can call those teachers by name.  Will new teachers stay and make a career of it?  Will new teachers develop the same under the new micro-credential “badge” system?  Will they be paid what they deserve as they earn their badges?  Will they be paid enough to keep them here for the long haul, gaining experience and applying it in our DeForest schools?  Or, will they leave for other careers and better paying jobs someplace else?

     

    We must pay teachers well, in order to keep them here, so that our students benefit from the experience their teachers gain only from years on the job.  Even if we need another referendum to approve exceeding the state caps on teachers’ salaries; even if we approve, say, another two or three million dollars on top of the forty-one million dollars for facilities; it will be worth it.  For what good are the buildings if we don’t staff them with in-it-for-the-long-term professional, career teachers?

     

                                                    Sincerely,

                                                    John Scepanski

                                                    DeForest


  • commented on Deceitful Attack on Worker Freedom! 2015-03-08 14:59:17 -0500
    Some call it “right to mooch.”

  • DeForest Area Progressives Meeting March 2, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for March 2, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, March 9, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hills neighborhood.  Draft agenda to follow.

     

    We had six people at the March 2nd meeting.  Pre-meeting discussion dwelt much on the school referendum on the April 7th ballot and the teachers’ situation and John and Marcia’s testimony on behalf of the teachers at the DeForest Area School Board meeting.

     

    Karen has set up the DAP web page reference to the April llth event, “What’s in YOUR Water?”   People can pre-register there by “RSVP-ing” at the bottom of the page.  JohnSki is going to put two ads in the DeForest Times-Tribune (pending funding from the village grant).  Using the flyer produced by Karen, JohnSki will also inform the churches and the organizations on the list provided by the village such as service organizations.  Ginny will place flyers in the library, stores, etc.  Janet volunteered to help Ginny.  Bill has been talking up the event with other organizations.  It might be a good idea for someone to contact the news media in Sun Prairie and Waunakee.

     

    Marcia talked about Plant Dane!, a rain garden plant cost-share program offered by the Madison Area Municipal Storm Water Partnership.  You can order inexpensive plants (only $1.80 per plant) at myfairlakes.com.  Marcia explained that these are plants that attract pollinators, feed birds, and do other things beneficial for the environment.  Marcia is going to the Windsor Garden Club meeting Wednesday to get acquainted and find out what they are all about.  She will report back.

     

    General discussion about the “right to work” law being passed now and the demonstrations and testimony on it: other terms for “right to work” are “wage theft” and “right to mooch.”  Right wingers sometimes call it “worker freedom” and “workplace freedom of conscience.”

     

    Ginny has asked Shawn Haney, Vienna town clerk, to come and talk to us sometime about the manure digester in the Town of Vienna.

     

    Marcia discussed the bird city project for the Town of Windsor.  I should be a whole community project, involving a lot of organizations such as garden clubs, FFA, DAP, the waterway and lakes associations, etc.  The town needs to meet at least seven out of 21 criteria and must add one new criterion each year.  Bird city can be seen as a habitat project related to climate change.

     

    Karen reported that Gogebic is packing up and leaving northern Wisconsin.  It is abandoning its Penokee Hills mining project.  Karen’s cousin in Ashland says that people are celebrating all over town.  This is a victory for protest!  However, Enbridge still has its pipeline – Enbridge  Pipeline 5 – running under the Bad River Reservation.  It must renegotiate its right of way with the Bad River Band.  See FriendsofPenokeeHills.org .

     

    Janet reported on the Ann Walsh Bradley campaign to re-elect Bradely to the Supreme Court.  The campaign organization has their headquarters in the Gateway Mall at the Capitol Square end of Williamson Street.  There are many volunteer opportunities available right now until the election on April 7th.  (John sent out a call-for-volunteers announcement to the DAP email list with details.)  The campaign is targeting left wing voters right now who do not usually turn out to vote in off year elections.  Should we – DAP -- put on something for the Bradley campaign at the DeForest area library?  Should we do something with GROW  or  SPARC?  Signs?  Phone bank?

     

    There was discussion of formalizing our DAP election efforts in some sort of an election action team (DAP-EAT J ) that can mobilize months before each election for canvassing, placing signs, phone calling, lit drops, etc., much as Janet and Marcia do now and have done in the past for OFA.


  • posted about Active McFarland March 7, 2015, Political Cafe on Facebook 2015-03-08 14:55:38 -0500
    Active McFarland March 7, 2015, Political Cafe

    Active McFarland March 7, 2015, Political Cafe

    From:

     

     Active McFarland ([email protected]) Jerry Collins  

    Sent:

     

    Sun 3/08/15 4:36 PM

    To:

     

     

    Dear Friends,

    Here is the report of the March 7 Active McFarland political café. We look forward to seeing you at the next café on March 14 at the McFarland House Café.  

    Announcements:  Mark your calendars for the following events.

               Thursday, Mar. 19, 7:00 PM:  Active McFarland will host Dane County Supervisor Patrick Miles for its monthly evening talk. Patrick will provide an overview of county government and the services it provides. Also speaking will be Nick Simonson, coordinator for the Lakes and Watershed Commission Community Engagement project. Nick will discuss ways for residents to get involved in protecting our local lakes. The meeting will be held in the community room of the McFarland Library.

               The 7th Annual Wisconsin Grassroots Festival will take place on Saturday, March 28. It will be held at Wisconsin Heights High School, 10173 US Highway 14, Mazomanie, WI. Speakers will include US Congressman Mark Pocan, State Senator Kathleen Vinehout, and Mike McCabe, author of Blue Jeans in High Places. Break-up sessions on a number of specific topics will also be available. Further information is available at: www.wisconsingrassroots.net

    1)  Phyllis Hasbrouck of the West Waubesa Prevention Coalition discussed issues of housing development and degradation of lake waters in the city of Fitchburg that will affect the entire Lake Waubesa region. She encouraged people to get involved in the mayoral campaign of Alder Steve Arnold, who is being endorsement by the group. The election will be held on April 7. Information on how to get involved in the campaign is available at: www.westwaubesa.org

    2)  Nikki Mandell, professor of history at UW-Whitewater, provided an overview of the likely effects of the budget cuts and proposal to restructure the UW System into a public authority. The effects will include massive layoffs of personnel, inability to recruit qualified faculty, privatization of university functions, use of the sales tax to fund higher education, and eventual tuition hikes for students. Nikki distributed postcards that concerned citizens can mail to legislators to ask for a moratorium on these cuts and restructuring proposal until the consequences can be further studied and the public better informed about them. Those interested in becoming involved in this and related efforts can contact Ron Berger, also a UW-W professor, at [email protected] or 608-838-7127.

    3)  A general discussion of ways to connect particular issues—whether they are budget cuts, right-to-work legislation, farming or environmental issues—into a broader, integrated grassroots movement ensued. Jerry is particularly interested in exploring ways to connect the union movement with the grassroots movement. Dawn encouraged us to get the word out about how our neighboring state of Minnesota is doing so much better than Wisconsin by pursuing more progressive politics.

    4)  Ann provided an update on her project that involves middle-school students producing short video podcasts on environmental issues. Her current plan is to develop a pilot project of five podcasts, which will include interviews with Amber Meyer Smith and other staff of Clean Wisconsin, with the hopes of producing more podcasts in the future.

    Related to the environment, Brad suggested that Active McFarland should have a presence at the McFarland Bird Festival that will be held at Lewis Park on Saturday April. 11. More generally, Brad is concerned that Active McFarland is ignoring opportunities to get more involved in local activities that would appeal to a broader audience. He wonders whether our focus on non-local issues will discourage more politically neutral residents from participating in our group. This will be a topic of discussion at next week’s café.

    5)  Lastly, Sharon has begun work on making signs for Active McFarland’s Hwy 51 sign brigade in support of Judge Ann Walsh Bradley’s campaign for reelection to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The sign brigade will be held late afternoons on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday for two weeks before the April 7 election: Mar. 24, 26, 28, 31; Apr. 2, 4. In about a week, we will post a sign-genius that we will send out via email for people to sign up for the brigade.

     Submitted by Ron Berger

    -- 

    Active McFarland: Exercising Democracy
    Email: [email protected]

    Website: www.activemcfarland.org or

    http://[email protected] 
    A Grass Roots Organization made up of people from the McFarland area promoting democracy at all levels of Government

     


  • Meeting notes for February 16, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for February 16, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, February 23, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hills neighborhood.  Agenda to follow will include reports on activities and planning for future activities.

     

    There were seven people at the February 16th meeting.  We began during pre-meeting time with some discussion on genetically modified foods (GMO’s), antibiotics, viruses and immunizations, etc.

     

    We received a handout from our counterpart progressive organization in Sun Prairie, SPARC.  It encouraged everyone to express our opinions about the pending state biennial budget.  The handout contained a list of objectionable items in the proposed budget as they relate to education issues, such as “It removes the cap on the unaccountable voucher program, allowing for unlimited enrollments statewide” and “It cuts almost $90 million in funding for students with special needs.”  There were ten items in all with other commentary.  (As an aside, several DAP members, including Liz, Karen, and Marcia, attended the listening session at the DeForest Library on the evening of Feb. 19th.  About fifty people were in attendance to give their opinions to Representatives Ripp, Jagler, and Olson.  Reports are that most commentary was progressive in nature and the reps got an earful.)

     

    Discussion was had on further planning for our April 11th event, “What’s in YOUR Water?” at the Windsor Neighborhood Center.  Bill handed out a tentative schedule.  He has been talking to other groups such as the Scouts and Rotary.  The current pre-registration on our web page is difficult and needs some refinement/simplification.  Karen will look into it.  JohnSki has submitted the grant application to the village of DeForest.

     

    John St. reported on the Wisconsin Grassroots Network Festival scheduled for March 28th.  You can buy tickets and sign up on the WGN website, WisconsinGrassroots.net.

     

    We discussed other meeting places for regular DAP Monday evening meetings.  Marcia and Karen met with the management at Macchiato’s, where there might be a possibility of future meetings.

     

    The rest of the evening was devoted to a slide presentation by Franco Milani, board member of the Friends of the Yahara River Headwaters (FoYRH).  The Friends are co-sponsoring and participating in “What’s in YOUR Water?”  Franco himself has an extensive background as a chemist employed in and interested in climate related subject matter.  Thank you, Franco, for a most interesting presentation.  Yes, Virginia, climate change is real and is happening right now.  Expect many more extreme weather events in the near future.  Franco also elaborated on water quality and capacity in Wisconsin.  You can learn much more by attending “What’s in YOUR Water?” on April 11th.


  • Meeting notes from February 9, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes from February 9, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, February 16, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hills neighborhood.  Be sure to come to hear Franco Milani of the Friends of the Yahara River Headwaters speak to us on the quality of DeForest area water.  Among other things of interest at this meeting, we will continue planning for our April 11th event, “What’s in YOUR Water?” as well as our participation in the Wisconsin Grassroots Network’s upcoming festival.

     

    On February 9th, in lieu of the regular DAP meeting, three of us went to the DeForest Area School District (DASD) School Board meeting to testify in favor of professional career teacher recognition.  We heard a report from the Teacher Compensation Committee, including a Power Point presentation on Compensation and Benefits, Teacher Compensation Career Ladder, Teacher Compensation Model, and General Information on Badges (the new system of teacher pay progression that replaces the union contracts eliminated by Act 10).  The reader is referred to the DASD website for detailed information on these and many other matters of interest on this topic.  There were around twenty teachers present, and many of them thanked us for our interest in backing their quest for dignity and respect to be reflected in their pay grades.  


  • Meeting notes for February 2, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for Monday, February 2, 2015

     

    Next meeting - PLEASE NOTE – we will meet AT 5:00 P.M., rather than our usual 6:00 p.m., at the DeForest Library to brief each other on our attendance at and testimony before the DeForest Area School Board on the subject of operating expenditures not keeping par with capital expenditures in the April 7th referendum.  See notes below.

     

    Eight people attended the February 2nd meeting, including two guests.

     

    We heard a presentation from a DeForest teacher, whom I will not name here due to the sensitive nature of her presentation.  Here is a summary of the gist of the presentation:

     

    1. The $41 M. referendum on the April 7th ballot contains all capital costs and nothing for operating costs (i.e., teachers’ salaries).
    2. Act 10 limited the ability of school districts to increase operating costs.  Districts may exceed the state cap on operating costs (including teachers’ compensation) only if it is approved by referendum.  Capital costs are not limited by Act 10.  Districts may borrow whatever they want to build buildings and buy equipment but must stay under the state imposed caps for operating costs, unless the voters of the district approve by referendum exceeding the cap.
    3. The building referendum up for vote on April 7th is “lipstick on a pig,” because it does not contain necessary increases in teaching and other staff commensurate with the expanded buildings and expected increases in student population.
    4. The estimated increase in operating costs is $2 M. in addition to the $41 M. of the capital referendum.
    5. The DeForest Area School District (DASD) is losing experienced teachers, because they do not have an adequate career path.  New teachers are paid very well, but the progressions necessary to keep experienced teachers are not there.
    6. If the governor’s and legislature’s expected proposals go through to allow uncertified teachers, fewer teachers will stay in teaching as a career and the quality of the teaching staff will deteriorate.  Expect constant teacher turnover.  Quality teaching depends on professional, career teachers, compensated accordingly.
    7. There is still a teachers’ union in DASD, but it has no power, due to Act 10 provisions.
    8. Teachers’ rules and regulations and other matters are now covered in a DASD handbook, rather than by a union contract.
    9. The April 7th referendum should be tied to staffing, as well as building new buildings.  The new buildings should be staffed to meet expanded enrollment requirements.
    10. Detailed information on the referendum and related matters can be found on the DASD website.

     

                                                                                                                                                    2

     

    Bill is working with Emily Jones of Clean Wisconsin and Shahla Werner of the Sierra Club to be the two main presenters at our April 11th event, “What’s in YOUR Water?”  Trout Unlimited might “table” at the event, as may other organizations.  We will ask that attendees register on our website.  It was felt that we have enough of us to set up, take down, and clean up at the Windsor Neighborhood Center on April 11th.  JohnSki got a list of area organizations from Corie Hoffman at the DeForest village office and will email that list to all other DAP members.  JohnSki also has a list of area churches to whom to send publicity.  Marcia will put a notice in the school publication.  Ginny will put up some posters around Madison and the area and put an ad in The Daily Cardinal.  John Stanley will put a notice in Isthmus.  JohnSki will make sure all DAP members get the notice, as well as Progressive Partners.  Karen continues to refine the flyer.  Are there any other publicity ideas?  JohnSki and Marcia will attend the February 3rd meeting of the Friends of the Yahara River Headwaters (FoYRH), which is serving as the 501c3 fiscal agent for a grant application to the village of DeForest.

     

    John Stanley is promoting a meeting he is involved in on February 19th from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Sun Prairie Library, discussing the 2nd CD (congressional district) Alliance of the Wisconsin Grassroots Network (WGN), of which the DAP is a member.

     

    John St. also mentioned a meeting he will be attending at UW-Platteville on February 26th with the universities students version of alliance of WGN.

     

    Don’t forget the special meeting time – 5:00 p.m. – and place – DeForest Library – for next Monday’s meeting.


  • Meeting notes for January 26, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for January 26, 2015

     

    Next meeting Monday, February 2, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., location to be determined, maybe Macchiato’s again?  Location will be sent to you via this email.

     

    Seven people met on January 26th.  JohnSki noted that January is the anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy of Queen Liliuokalani by U.S. naval forces and commercial interests in 1893.  Go to www.hawaiianperspectives.org for further information and the native Hawaiian viewpoint.

     

    Announcements included events coming up tomorrow, January 27th:

    • Wisconsin Senate hearing on its version of the education bill, 9:00 a.m., Room 411S, State Capitol.  Marcia and Mary Arnold are going.  Senator Luther Olson chairs the committee.  Although he is a Republican, Sen. Olson is a longtime friend of public education and has toned down the Senate bill from the Assembly version to make it less destructive.
    • Also on January 27th at 7:00 p.m. in the City-County Bldg. is the last hearing of the Dane County zoning board on the Enbridge pipeline going through part of NE Dane County.  Every other affected Wisconsin county has approved it.

     

    John Stanley reported that in the 3rd Wisconsin Congressional District progressive organizations are organizing to join the Wisconsin Grassroots Network.  The WGN continues to organize and is also conferring with Mike McCabe, former executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and author of Blue Jeans in High Places.

     

    On February 16th, Franco Milani of the Friends of the Upper Yahara River Headwaters (FUYRH) will meet with us to discuss the effects of climate change on water quality.  Franco used to work at the University of Wisconsin on the topic.

     

    We had much discussion on our upcoming April 11th event, “What’s in YOUR Water?”  Ginny reserved the facilities at the Windsor Community Center, 4438 Windsor Road, Windsor, Wisconsin.  You can do an internet search to find directions.  The times are 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.  For more information, check the DAP website at http://deforestareaprogressives.nationbuilder.com/do_you_know_what_s_in_your_water .  Karen has posted lots of goodies on our website and updates it regularly.  She also passed out copies of a flyer she has designed for the April 11th event.  Good going, Karen!  “What’s in YOUR Water?” will be a regular agenda item at all DAP Monday meetings from now until then, so come if you want to volunteer to help.

     

    Bill Hayes reported on his talks with our presenters for April 11th.  Bill has had a lot of discussion with Shahla Werner, Director of the John Muir chapter of the Sierra Club, who will be our main presenter along with Emily Jones from Clean Wisconsin.  Their emphasis will be on water runoff and what it does to water supplies.  They will also touch of the subject of high capacity wells.

     

    Our two objectives for “What’s in YOUR Water?” are

    1)      Identify the threat, and

    2)      What can we do about it?

     

    Bill handed out some very interesting information to get us acquainted with what we want to accomplish in this event: “WHAT’S IN YOUR WATER – What threatens your water – Clean, Safe and Plentiful Water is not a left-right, conservative vs liberal issue, it is a basic essential for organic life to simply exist.”  (3 pages of facts)

     

    Other topics of discussion regarding the topic of water:

    • The City of Waukesha is seeking permission to pump water from Lake Michigan.  There are more and more demands on Lake Michigan water from more and more places.  Reference was made to the pact created around 1989 between the states bordering the Great Lakes and Canada regarding Great Lakes water ownership and responsibility.
    • Elizabeth Ward of the Sierra Club would like to do a follow-up on the Enbridge oil pipeline running through Wisconsin.
    • FUYRH will participate on April 11th.  Barry Eichinger has agreed to deliver a 15 or 20 minute introduction to FUYRH (who they are, what they do) between 1:00 and 1:30 to kick off the afternoon.
    • Ideas for follow-up are 1) hold a water rally on the Capitol lawn with WGN involvement and whatever progressive groups in the 2nd CD Alliance and Progressive Partners want to participate, 2) enjoin the ideas of community bill of rights with the ideas of “What’s in YOUR Water?”
    • Contact Dean Baker, V. of DeForest public works director, and explain to him that we do not intend to criticize water quality in DeForest and Windsor per se.
    • Pursue a grant with the Village of DeForest, asking the FUYRH to sponsor such a grant application as they are a 501c3 organization, which is a requirement to be a grant applicant for a water grant with the village.  Such a grant might ask for funds for publicity, A-V equipment rental, mileage, stipends for Sierra and Clean Wisconsin, printing, what else?
    • Maybe FUYRH would like to put up an informational table on April 11th.
    • All DAP members should be thinking of how to publicize “What’s in YOUR Water?”  What organizations should we contact?  Where can we put up flyers and posters?  Whom can we call?  Ginny wants to put up flyers on State Street in Madison!  It worked when she did it for the fracking program we did.

     

    Also at this meeting, we went over what DAP members are doing in the Wisconsin Grassroots Network Festival on March 28.  See www.wisconsingrassroots.net for further information on this year’s festival.  John St. said there is more help needed that Friday night to set up tables and such.  Also, bakers are needed to make pies and cakes to sell at the DAP table.  Contact John if you can spare some time that Friday and Saturday to do “gofer” work and table sit.

     

    The end


  • DAP meeting notes for January 5, 2015

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for January 5, 2015

     

    Next meeting: Monday, January 12, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hills neighborhood.

     

    There were seven people present at the January 5th meeting.

     

    January 19th will be movie night, showing “Plastic Planet” with discussion and fun to precede and follow the movie.  Bring a snack to share if you want to.  More on this in next week’s notes.

     

    On Saturday, January 17th, we will car pool to the Progressive Partners meeting in Oregon.  Meet before noon (around 11:45 or 11:50) in front of Marcia’s house at 3953 Finch Trail, Windsor Hills neighborhood.  We w ill park the extra cars in the cul-du-sac and pile into pool cars for the ride to Oregon.  We will leave Marcia’s house promptly at 12:00 noon.  The PP meeting is scheduled for 1:00 – 3:30 p.m., so we should get back to Marcia’s around 4:30-5:00 or so, allowing for gab time after the official meeting.  Mike McCabe, former executive director of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and author of the currently popular Blue Jeans in High Places is the featured guest.  We can expect to hear some very current commentary from Mike on the political scene and especially what he and the other “Blue Jeans” (read the book) have got up their sleeves for this coming year.

     

    The main topic of conversation for tonight’s meeting was planning for our next event, a community education project tentatively called “What’s in Y0UR Water?”  Bill H. came up with the idea.  Thank you, Bill!   As Bill points out, water is at the core of everything.  That is our theme.  Bill has been in touch with Clean Wisconsin and Sierra Club.  Clean Wisconsin would like to do something on the topic of nutrient pollution.  The Sierra Club would do something complementary on mining or the Enbridge pipeline.  Bill will work with them to develop the themes.  The target date is Saturday, April 11th, somewhere in the DeForest/Windsor/Vienna area, maybe the Windsor community center, maybe the DeForest library, maybe another venue – to be determined.  Our objective is to bring attendees to feel stewardship today for our water resources for future generations.  The native American idea of consideration for seven generations ahead was brought up.  A second goal of the session is to motivate and empower attendees to act in some ways to guarantee pure water for future generations (run for office, contact their elected representatives, write letters to the editor, testify at public hearings, join and get active in Clean Wisconsin and the Sierra Club and other like groups, etc.).  We should invite our elected officials.  One handout we should give attendees is a list of their elected officials and their contact information.  Bill volunteered to emcee the program and introduce the theme at the beginning.  We can think about having a follow-up session later in the summer or fall.  A publicity committee was formed.  This discussion will continue and we can begin to make assignments and firm up plans at next MONDAY’s meeting.

     

    Janet announced that there is going to be a “celebration” (an “anti-celebration”?) of the fifth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision at Cargo Coffee on East Wash. In Madison on January 21st.

     

    Karen mentioned that if you want to continue getting Legislative Alert you have to re-sign up for its community announcements and new legislators.  Go to the state legislative website to do so.  Marcia suggested re-signing up with Capitol Eye too.

     

    Karen passed out a draft of her work: “THE NEW D.A.P., DeForest Area People, ‘We Care’.”  It is a one-page statement of beliefs and values for contemplation , revision, and perhaps endorsement at further meetings.  You can read it at the end of this report.

     

    Karen further informed us that this Saturday, January 10th, at 9:30 a.m., there will be a discussion of Mike McCabe’s ideas at the McFarland coffee group.

     

    JohnSki mentioned that our county board supervisor, Maureen McCarville, is on the Commission on Sensitive Crimes.  In conversation with Maureen, she said that an emphasis of the commission now is elder abuse, its many facets and manifestations.

     

    Some mention was made of this spring’s upcoming elections.  Who are the candidates?  Do YOU want to run?  We will back you and help you if you do!  School Board, Village Board, Town Boards

     

    ***

     

    THE NEW D.A.P.

     

    DeForest Area People

     

    “We Care”

     

    We care about other people because we believe that when we all do better, we all do better!

     

    We believe in the value of the things that we cannot provide for ourselves: clean air; clean water;  good roads; street lights; police and fire protection; public schools; public transit systems; municipal water and sewer systems for those who live in built up areas; a free and open internet for all; good public libraries and so many other things that are part of the public Commonwealth. We are willing to work for these things with our voices, our votes, and to contribute towards them with our tax dollars as a right and a privilege of our membership in this community of free citizens.

     

    We believe that all who benefit from the Commons must pay their fair share: those who produce goods and services and throw their waste products into the common air and water without paying for garbage removal, artificially inflate the profits paid to owners at the expense of their neighbors. Those whose overweight trucks wreck local roads must pay directly for repairs to those roads, rather than shifting the burden onto the Commons. Privatizing the profit and socializing the cost helps the few and penalizes the many.

     

    We believe that an individual human citizen is the only one endowed with the Constitutional right to political speech. We further believe that money is property. Corporations are not “people” and have no place in the political process. No organization created by the laws of a government should have a say in how that government is to be run!

     

    We believe that all citizens have the right to vote and that it is the true responsibility of government to ensure that it is as easy as possible for all citizens to exercise that right as possible. This means that voter id laws should be repealed, voting hours expanded for early voting, statewide special voting registrar certification reinstated, etc.

     

    We believe that where workers believe that employer power requires a balancing force, they should be able to organize to unite their voices in a group as a counterbalance to that power. Where such a union exists, unless an employer maintains a two-tier wage/benefit structure for union/non-union members, that employer shall need to collect equivalent sums from all employees to be forwarded to the bargaining agent for its services.

     

    We believe in freedom of religion and the separation of church and state as founding principles of this country. This includes the freedom to not believe in any established religion. This also includes the right to practice one’s own religion but not to the extent that it creates offense to others or is practiced on the Common ground, and excludes any others.   

     


  • commented on The Stoughton Referendum Miscount 2014-12-13 18:08:34 -0600
    Jim Fetzer: Gambling with democracy: Did Burke beat Walker, after all?
    JIM FETZER | McKnight professor emeritus, University of Minnesota-Duluth 12/13/14

    In the new era of electronic voting machines, polls have assumed an increasingly important role in attempting to understand political developments. But when the final poll from Marquette before the Nov. 4 election showed a surge for Gov. Scott Walker, I was taken aback. Had the Marquette poll shown a surge for challenger Mary Burke, that would have made sense — and even the margin of 50-43 percent seems about right. The final tabulated election result of 53-46 percent also sounds about right — provided the outcome had favored Burke.
    The race had been neck and neck prior to that final poll. What in the world could have happened to “fire up” Walker’s base? I can’t think of anything. His debate performances were perfunctory at best; he frequently dodged questions — when the panelists tried to pin him down it was to no avail. His second performance was notable for implying he would serve out his term, when everyone knows he is running for president in 2016 and that he is making his bones to pacify the most right-wing elements of the GOP.
    When Burke ran against the governor, I was impressed by her ability to manage the complexities of a campaign. She did better than Walker in the debates and was supported by visits from some of the most popular figures in the Democratic Party, including Michelle Obama (twice), Bill Clinton and even the president of the United States. The best Walker could do was bring in another scandal-tainted governor, Chris Christie, whose presence was unlikely to make a difference.
    Burke ran a very strong campaign, where the efforts of her opponents to attack her on grounds of plagiarism — when recycling position statements is common practice in politics — was a nice example of grasping at straws. Walker had nothing better to use against her. And the stories appearing in the Wisconsin State Journal were uniformly unfavorable to Walker, including new releases about the “John Doe” investigation and snubbing pre-school program funding.
    Voting machine “malfunctions”
    If Walker was not making the sale, what could possibly explain his victory? In Wisconsin, about 90 percent of ballots are cast on paper and counted by optical scanners, 5 percent are cast on paper and counted by hand, and 5 percent are cast and tabulated on touch-screen equipment.
    We tend to assume that optical scanners are reliable, but that turns out to be more a wish than a reality, as “a glitch” discovered in Stoughton during the Nov. 4 election revealed. Brad Friedman, a well-known critic of electronic voting, headlines his “Brad Blog” story “Wisconsin paper ballot scanners failed to count 1,000s of votes in ‘Citizens United’ ballot referendum.”
    “Popular, oft-malfunctioning computer tabulator used in Wisconsin, many other states, tallied just 16 votes out of 5,350 cast in Stoughton, Wisconsin,” Friedman writes.
    “Though some 5,350 voters are known to have voted in the city of Stoughton in Dane County, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, just 16 of those voters were interested in voting in a local ballot referendum calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to help overturn the infamous Citizens United decision — at least according to the results reported by paper ballot optical-scan computer tabulators there.”
    In addition to frequent malfunctioning, both touch-screen machines and optical scanners are easy to manipulate. A 2008 study at Princeton showed that, using simple tools, a different program could be installed in voting machines “that steals votes from one party’s candidates, and gives them to another.” The specific machine they were testing, the Sequoia Advantage, is still being used in at least six states by some 9 million voters. And whether or not it was used in Stoughton, the principles for manipulating vote counts are the same for touch-screen machines and optical scanners alike.
    The Stoughton case could be corrected, because there were paper ballots for a recount. But with touch-screen machines, recounts are impossible because there are no paper ballots to compare with the tabulated totals. That makes recounts impossible, no matter how strong the indications that something is not right — making them unconstitutional on their face.
    Could it happen here?
    Are there any good reasons to think election theft has happened in Wisconsin? Brad Friedman, Robert Fitrakis and Bev Harris are well known for their research on election theft. The most extensive studies specific to Wisconsin have been by statistician Richard Charnin, as he reports online in “The exit poll smoking gun: ‘How did you vote in the last election?‘"
    In Europe, exit polls are used to determine who won, and the tabulated vote merely serves to confirm it. But the opposite is the practice in the U.S., where the exit polls are revised to conform to the tabulated vote. That means we have no way to verify whether our elections are being stolen using touch-screen or optical-scanning machines, which is all the more worrisome since their owners have strong ties to the GOP, which research by Bev Harris, Victoria Collier and others has confirmed.
    As Charnin explains, the unadjusted exit polls have been forced to match the recorded vote in every presidential election since 1988. The Democrats won state and national exit polls by 52-42 percent, but won the recorded vote by just 48-46 percent. The probability of a discrepancy on this order of magnitude is around one time in trillions. “The exit polls were right. The vote counts were wrong,” Charnin writes. “It’s as simple as that.”
    The recall election
    Consider Charnin’s assessment of the Walker recall election. In 2008, Obama won Wisconsin with 56.2 percent as his recorded vote. But Obama had 63.3 percent in the unadjusted exit poll, which is far beyond the 2.5 percent margin of error. The exit poll data are therefore strong evidence that election fraud sharply reduced Obama’s true vote.
    Thus, Charnin observes, “In 2010, Walker won by 124,638 votes with a 52.3 percent share. In 2012, he won the recall by 171,105 votes with 53.1 percent. But the True Vote Model (TVM) showed that he needed 23 percent of Obama returning voters to match the recorded vote. That is extremely implausible — and a red flag. It’s further evidence that Barrett won the election.”
    The governor’s race
    In 2014, Charnin reports, Walker won with a 52.9 percent share. The exit poll was forced to match the bogus recorded vote by cutting returning Barrett voters to just 35 percent of 2014 voters, compared to Walker’s 50 percent. The 15 percent differential is much higher than the 7 percent Walker-recorded margin (8 percent discrepancy) and the 6 percent Barrett True Vote margin (a 21 percent discrepancy).
    “When the returning voter mix is changed to a feasible Barrett 45/Walker 41 percent outcome,” Charnin concludes, “Burke is the winner by 52.3-47.3 percent. The ‘How Voted in 2012’ crosstab vote shares are missing for Other (3 percent) and New Voters (DNV 11 percent). This is highly anomalous and another ‘tell’ that Walker stole the election.” Charmin’s spreadsheet can be found here.
    We have three methods of counting votes with vastly different levels of confidence:
    1. Cast on paper and counted by hand: the highest — even complete — confidence as well as least expensive with no technology to go wrong.
    2. Cast on paper but counted by optical scanners: quasi-confidence, since counts can be, but seldom are, verified by ballot comparisons.
    3. Cast by touch screen with no paper ballots: lowest — even zero — confidence, since it is not even possible to compare counts with nonexistent ballots.
    Those who have been elected using electronic tabulators are not going to be disposed to abandon them for more reliable methods. But the people should insist on the use of paper ballots and hand counts. A referendum to abolish the use of those machines be an appropriate measure. This would not be the first time that elections have been stolen in America. Why gamble with democracy?
    Jim Fetzer is a former Marine Corps officer and McKnight Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
    Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/opinion/column/jim-fetzer-gambling-with-democracy-did-burke-beat-walker-after/article_e3d56798-8069-5a2a-87a3-bce5a08171ac.html#ixzz3LpGU2PTu

  • LTE DeForest Times-Tribune, 11/27/14

    November 27, 2014

    Editor

    DeForest Times-Tribune

    The letter-to-the-editor by Doug and Mary Hudzinski, which appeared in your November 27th issue, could not have been more true.  I agree completely with what they wrote.  The Hudzinskis’ letter touched on so many issues, it is difficult to itemize my support for their statements in this short space.  Let it suffice to list a few of them: health care reform, fair taxation, banking regulation, living wage, economic stimulus, unions and the right to collective bargaining, environmental stewardship, the corporate takeover of our representative form of government.  I hope your readers will return to the Hudzinskis’ letter in the November 27th issue to review it in detail.  It is worth a second reading.  

    The Republican sweep of the recent elections surprised and disappointed me too, although I must say I was proud of voters in DeForest and Windsor, in that we supported the Democratic candidates with wins locally.  In DeForest and Windsor, Mary Burke defeated Scott Walker for governor.  Democrat George Ferriter defeated incumbent Keith Ripp in DeForest (although to be fair, Mr. Ripp won Windsor by fifty–one percent).  Mary Arnold defeated incumbent John Jagler in DeForest and Windsor.  Incumbent Democratic Assembly Representative Diane Hesselbein won by a lot over her challenger, Brent Renteria.  Even newcomer Michelle Zahn won by a large margin in DeForest over strong incumbent Senator Scott Fitzgerald.  Statewide, voters overwhelmingly approved referendums in support of BadgerCare/Medicaid and raising the minimum wage, both progressive ideals.

    It gives me some comfort to know that DeForest and Windsor appear to favor Democrats.  That puts the DeForest area in good progressive company with the rest of Dane County, even though we were beaten overall statewide and across the country.  Doug and Mary and my fellow Democrats and progressive believers out there, do not lose heart!  Our turn will come again when the proverbial pendulum swings.

    The progressive and Democratic approach took a hit in this election, even though we voters in DeForest and Windsor did our part to support it.  It is gratifying to know that voters in the DeForest area are in the progressive camp, even though it is going to be a long dry spell for our ideals.

    Sincerely,

    John Scepanski

    DeForest


  • Meeting notes for November 17, 2014

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for November 17, 2014

     

    Next meeting: Monday, November 24, 2014, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Marcia’s house, 3953 Finch Trail in the Windsor Hill neighborhood.

    The agenda for the next meeting will include, not necessarily in this order, continued discussion about projects we might like to undertake in the near future: revisit old DAP draft policies & procedures?; environmental, Enbridge pipeline, Clean Wisconsin, bird city, prairie patches, FUYRH, Token Creek Conservancy; election, ideas, area meetings; education, SPARC projects, threats to public education; a community education project; Josh Lerner’s Making Democracy Fun; other.*

    There were six people at the November 17th meeting.  Congratulations, because it was COLD out.

     

    We discussed the election some more and the fact that there are a number of area organizations hosting meetings to figure out what went wrong and what to do about it next time.

     

    Liz reported on her attendance last Wednesday at the Dane County Zoning Committee hearing on the Enbridge oil sludge pipeline that will bisect Wisconsin and pass through a section of northeastern Dane County near Marshall.  This is the same company and system of pipelines that ruptured, spilled, and  wreaked havoc in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a couple of years ago.  The company wants to double the diameter of the existing pipes (there are four running parallel to one another) from 24 inches to 48 inches.  The last DNR assessment of the pipeline was in 2006.  The Committee wants a new DNR assessment and the company to buy insurance in case of a mishap.  An assessment is not as intense as an environmental impact statement.  The company representatives said that if there is a spill, they have forty people in Fort Atkinson ready to respond.  The company has insurance but would not disclose its contents, claiming it is proprietary information.  They said that eleven communities have already approved the changes in the pipeline without requiring further assessment, bonding,  or insurance.  The Committee postponed any action, pending further information.

    Bill talked about Clean Wisconsin and provided information on resources it has available for public education.  Clean Wisconsin is an environmental watchdog.  Maybe we can do something with them in the way of a public education project. 

    Marcia and Karen went to the recent “Political Cafe” in McFarland last Saturday.  There are going to be more of those get-togethers in the near future.  We should send delegations.  We should do more along these lines of attending events put on by our compadres around the area.  A notice could be sent out to our list to meet somewhere locally and then car pool to the events.  This would be fun and informative and would signal solidarity with our sisters and brothers nearby.

    Marcia has been informed of a book called Making Democracy Fun by Josh Lerner (sp?).  It talks about creating games, playing the games, and analyzing the results of the games that are pertinent to things that progressives and other interested parties find useful when thinking about social issues.  An example is the game some of us have played where participants get varying amounts of food or other things of value to illustrate disparities around the world.  Marcia suggested that DAP might want to study the book and engage in the creation, playing, and analysis of games.  Maybe we could invite other groups like ours to do the same.

    Bill commented on how uninformed he found people to be when he was canvassing for candidates.  He finds a shift to the right politically among younger people.  What can we do to shape progressive thinking among our constituents in Windsor, Vienna, and DeForest?  Bill asked each of us what excites us to do something.  Liz mentioned labor unfairness and Act 10.  Ginny said that union activity and standing up for the common person brought her into activism.  Marcia discussed economic inequality and oppression around the world.  Peter said simply, “Goldwater.”  (Peter is originally from South Dakota and as his claim to fame he debated Tom Brokaw in college.)  JohnSki has no claim to fame (unless you call going to the seventh grade dance with Emmylou Harris a claim to fame J ) but anyway  said he had trouble focusing on just one thing, that there is so much involving the environment, education, economic disparity, unions, and on and on.  He mentioned reading Howard Zinn’s book, A People’s History of America.  Ginny endorsed that book too.  Peter mentioned too Mike McCabe’s book, Blue Jeans in High Places. 

    Bill’s point was, How do we impact the population to have a “wake up moment”?  He is no longer interested in Republicans or Democrats.  He is looking for people like Wisconsin Republican Senator Dale Schultz, who can work together to find what common ground there is.  Maybe we could use game theory to bring people together, especially those in other groups like ours like GROW in Waunakee.  We need to set up a framework to find out how to engage people and get them to focus and decide: goals, problem solving, process.  We want to turn the light bulbs on. How do we do that?

    *Next meeting we will continue this discussion and try to come to some consensus on what we can do about these concerns and what projects we might construct, what actions we might undertake, to achieve these goals.


  • DAP meeting notes for November 10, 2014

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for November 10, 2014

     

    Next meeting: Monday, November 17, 2014, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Marcia’s house, 3953 Finch Trail in the Windsor Hill neighborhood.

     

    There were seven people at the November 10th meeting.                           

     

    There was a lot of discussion on the November 4th election and plans for future elections.  Some thought the issues in the election were over-simplified.  Others noted that according to George Lakoff, decisions are more often made on values and emotions than they are on rationality.  What are the important nuggets?  How can we market bite size pieces of information to voters?  What are the little cubes of information that people need to know that will affect their decision-making at the emotional and values levels?

     

    We then turned our thoughts to what we want to do as a progressive organization in our community.  Our group has established itself in DeForest, Windsor, Vienna, and the surrounding area.  We have been sought out regularly by candidates and others for our involvement and input as progressives.  How can we have an effect on shaping the progressive mindset of our communities? 

     

    Marcia suggested that we get involved in the “backyard prairie project.”  She described what she is doing in her own yard to return a portion of it to natural prairie according to the manner of Neil Diebold.  She has spoken to Windsor and DeForest officials about sponsoring such movements in our communities.  Windsor should seek “bird city” status like DeForest and other places in Wisconsin.  Maybe we can host a community education session through the DeForest area library’s adult programming.

     

    Liz thought we need to encourage more membership in DAP.  Where is everybody?  What happened to the community rights idea?

     

    Marcia asked us all to list our ideas and prioritize them on what we should be doing between elections and get those ideas to her.  What can we do to be community educators, to get the progressive message out there, to work with other community organizations in other communities like SPARC in Sun Prairie, where they have been doing some great things on education, and GROW in Waunakee

     

    Next meeting, Carl will report on the DeForest Parks Commission of which he is a member.


  • DAP meeting notes from October 27, 2014

     DeForest Area Progressives                                                        

    Meeting notes for October 27, 2014

     NO MEETING MONDAY, NOVEMBER 3RD, due to election.

     

    Next meeting Monday, November 10, 2014, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s house, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood, Windsor.

    There were six people in attendance at this October 27th DAP meeting.

     

    Janet reminded everyone to get out there and work in these last days before Election Day.  Call the Sun Prairie office of the combined campaign for information: 422-2999.  Mary Bell, former head of WEAC, is leading the combined campaign from the Sun Prairie office.  Canvassing and lit drops will be on these shifts from the Sun Prairie office:

     

    Saturday canvassing: meet at the Sun Prairie office at 9:00, 12:00 noon, 3:00, and 6:00

    Sunday canvassing at 12:00, 3:00, and 6:00

    Monday lit drop at 9:00, 12:00, 3:00, and 6:00

    Tuesday canvassing at 8:00, 11:00, 2:00, and 5:00

     

    You can specify the DeForest-Windsor area to canvas and drop lit.

     

    Janet brought up and we discussed the idea of taking ownership of your own neighborhood for future elections and GOTV.

     

    There will be a fundraiser for South Central Wisconsin Move to Amend (SCWMTA) on November 5th.  See the Wisconsin Grassroots Network website for details.

     

    Sister Simone will be at Holy Wisdom Seminary on Monday.

     

    The rest of the meeting pretty much followed Karen’s agenda handed out and cited below.

     

    Agenda

    1. Before the election – take a census of signs (looking for possible new locations for message signs). WANTED – addresses with many Democratic or Green party signs on high traffic streets. Please send to Karen Edson at  [email protected]  As statewide signage coordinator for Wisconsin Grassroots Network, Karen will be creating a database for future reference.

                2. Before election, those folks in contact with candidates’ campaign STAFFS: please ask that lists of TV, Radio and print media contacts be sent to Karen Edson at [email protected]. The Wisconsin Grassroots Network will be developing and maintaining a statewide database of this information for MESSAGING purposes between elections and will share it with candidates who share our values.

                3. Election Night:  Because so many DAP-ers are working neighborhoods and at the polls before and after voting on election day, we decided not to meet at any particular place to watch election returns.

                4. IMMEDIATELY AFTER the election, collect OUR yard signs (Burke, Arnold, Ferriter, Zahn, Hesselbein, Happ, etc.). If you need help getting BIG (4X4) signs down call Karen Edson at  608-225-1458.

                5. A week after the election, review the neighborhood around your home, church, shopping area, etc. for REPUBLICAN signs. Knock on THOSE doors and politely inform those homeowners that you are a volunteer collecting election yard signs for recycling. Ask them if they would like you to take theirs. If they ask what group you are with, be honest, but you do not need to volunteer it at the start of the conversation!

                6. For those members who are homeowners with a yard: if you have part of your yard not visible to the neighbors, leave a strip unmown. If possible, have this piece close to shrubbery or capable of including some shrubs at one end or along one edge. The idea is to create a bird and butterfly sanctuary with native grasses and flowers being allowed to grow and the shrubs providing cover (and berries for the birds). If you can manage a heated birdbath with running water year round, you will delight both the birds and yourself with your annual migrating visitors!  This and other ideas for DAP projects between elections will be the topics of meetings in the near future.

              7. As a fundraise for DAP - collect and recycle aluminum cans for cash????


  • Candidates' Forum letter-to-the-editor

    Published in DeForest Times-Tribune 10/16/14 

     

    Dear Editor:

     

    The fine candidates’ forum hosted by the DeForest Area Chamber of Commerce and the DeForest Area Library on October 8th highlighted the differences between the Democratic candidates and the Republican candidates in the November 4 election.  It confirmed my resolve to vote for all of the Democratic candidates, including the Democratic candidate for governor, Mary Burke.

     

    One of the differences between Democrats and Republicans is the future of education.  Democrats oppose spending public tax money on private voucher schools.  I agree.  We must rally behind our public education system and fund it well with public tax dollars.  Education is a community responsibility, not a business.

     

    Another difference is voting.  Democrats support widespread voting rights and oppose repressive voting laws.  We should encourage voting, not discourage it.

     

    The differences between Democrats and Republicans on environmental protection are stark.  Democrats favor local control over water and air regulation with a healthy dose of regulatory backup at the state level from a DNR that represents the people’s interests.  Republicans favor weaker water and air rules, so that environmental regulation will interfere less with business.  (This is an oddly new generation of GOP from the one that used to work for conservation.)

     

    Another stark difference between Democrats and Republicans appears in response to making Wisconsin a “right to work” state.  Democrats favor employees’ right to a collective say in their compensation and work conditions through collective bargaining.  Republicans generally oppose collective bargaining.  As a long time Democrat myself, of course I lament the demise of public employee collective bargaining and the diminished influence of private sector unions.

     

    The subject of minimum wage brings another difference to the fore between the candidates.  Democrats believe that more money in the pockets of wage earners means not only increases in family incomes but also boosts to local economies, as the increased wages are spent at local businesses.

     

    I hope that in this election we can return the influence of the people’s party, the Democratic Party, to the Wisconsin legislature and governorship.  Not only is that influence crucial to public education, voting rights, environmental protection, workers’ rights and incomes.  It is important in a larger sense to how we see ourselves in community.  As Senator Elizabeth Warren says, Deep down, this is a fight about values.  We all do better when we work together and invest in the future.  That’s why I recommend that you vote for the Democratic candidates: Mary Arnold, Dianne Hesselbein, George Ferriter, Michelle Zahn, and Mary Burke for governor.

     

    Sincerely,

    John Scepanski

     DeForest


  • DAP meeting notes for October 13, 2014

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for October 13, 2014

     

    Next meeting Monday, October 20, 2014, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s house, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood, Windsor.

     

     

    There were 9 people at the October 13th meeting.

     

    Janet discussed campaign strategy for the upcoming November 4 election that she has received from the Democratic coordinated campaign: contact lists, reporting back, voter access network (VAN) database, etc.  Marcia further described the coordinated campaign idea and offered her house for GOTV canvassing.  Janet has been having trouble recruiting volunteers, so be sure to call her.  There is a “practice” scheduled for this weekend.  We collected more sale money from signs sold.  People in the group reported on what they were doing in the campaigns: canvassing, office staffing, signs, letters to the editor, phone calling, etc.  We planned some canvassing and lit drops for the coming week.  Times, dates, and schedules will be set by the coordinated campaign.  We discussed observation at the polls on election day, including observation after the polls close.  We received a handout, “Five ways to help ensure accurate election results.”

     

    We discussed and critiqued the candidates’ forum held at the DeForest Library and hosted by the DeForest Area Chamber of Commerce on October 8th.  Eighty people attended and DAP was well represented in the audience and among the written questions submitted and asked of candidates.

     

    Peter and Marcia registered voters at Epic in Verona and were highly successful, garnering big stacks of registrations.  This was much better than most of Peter and Marcia’s experiences as volunteer registrars.

     

    We discussed gathering on election night to watch the returns and have a party.  Other general political discussion.

     

    Karen reported on a six part seminar she is taking on racial sensitivity.  She said she is taking it because she needed a “booster shot” to bring her up to speed from when she worked in personnel when “the government still cared.”  Most of us being white gives us a limited perspective.  Being racially white is not the norm around the world.  White is “other” in most places throughout the world.  Karen will continue to give us all a little “booster shot” in the coming weeks.  She will also post some things on the websites (DeForestAreaProgressives.nationbuilder.com and WisconsinGrassroots.net).

     

    AND, don’t forget to contact Dan Rowe for 4’x4’ Michelle Zahn for Senate signs.  Dan will deliver and set them up.  Call Dan at 608-235-8732 or 608-846-3496.


  • DAP meeting notes for October 13, 2014

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Meeting notes for October 13, 2014

     

    Next meeting Monday, October 20, 2014, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Ginny’s house, 3922 Partridge Road, Windsor Hill neighborhood, Windsor.

     

     

    There were 9 people at the October 13th meeting.

     

    Janet discussed campaign strategy for the upcoming November 4 election that she has received from the Democratic coordinated campaign: contact lists, reporting back, voter access network (VAN) database, etc.  Marcia further described the coordinated campaign idea and offered her house for GOTV canvassing.  Janet has been having trouble recruiting volunteers, so be sure to call her.  There is a “practice” scheduled for this weekend.  We collected more sale money from signs sold.  People in the group reported on what they were doing in the campaigns: canvassing, office staffing, signs, letters to the editor, phone calling, etc.  We planned some canvassing and lit drops for the coming week.  Times, dates, and schedules will be set by the coordinated campaign.  We discussed observation at the polls on election day, including observation after the polls close.  We received a handout, “Five ways to help ensure accurate election results.”

     

    We discussed and critiqued the candidates’ forum held at the DeForest Library and hosted by the DeForest Area Chamber of Commerce on October 8th.  Eighty people attended and DAP was well represented in the audience and among the written questions submitted and asked of candidates.

     

    Peter and Marcia registered voters at Epic in Verona and were highly successful, garnering big stacks of registrations.  This was much better than most of Peter and Marcia’s experiences as volunteer registrars.

     

    We discussed gathering on election night to watch the returns and have a party.  Other general political discussion.

     

    Karen reported on a six part seminar she is taking on racial sensitivity.  She said she is taking it because she needed a “booster shot” to bring her up to speed from when she worked in personnel when “the government still cared.”  Most of us being white gives us a limited perspective.  Being racially white is not the norm around the world.  White is “other” in most places throughout the world.  Karen will continue to give us all a little “booster shot” in the coming weeks.  She will also post some things on the websites (DeForestAreaProgressives.nationbuilder.com and WisconsinGrassroots.net).

     

    AND, don’t forget to contact Dan Rowe for 4’x4’ Michelle Zahn for Senate signs.  Dan will deliver and set them up.  Call Dan at 608-235-8732 or 608-846-3496.


  • DAP meeting notes for October 6, 2014

    DeForest Area Progressives

    Notes from meeting of October 6, 2014

     

    Next meeting: Monday, October 13, 2014, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., AT JOHN STANLEY’S HOUSE, 412 River Wood Bend, DeForest.  Note new meeting spot.  Thanks, John!  River Wood Bend intersects South Street near the South Street bridge.

     

     

    There were seven people at the October 6th meeting. 

     

    Most of the meeting was taken up with discussion and planning for the candidates’ forum Wednesday the eighth.  Members were encouraged to have their assigned questions written out and ready to hand in when we arrive.  We will meet at the DeForest Library at 5:45 p.m. and will sit together.  We may go out together afterward to debrief.  (Subsequent plans were made to go to the Rodeside Restaurant with our candidates and members of the Wisconsin Grassroots Network Task Force after the forum.)  Karen handed out sheets of information on the candidates’ sources of donations, which she has spent much time gathering from online sources.  Other forums were discussed such as the one at Edgewood College on Thursday.  Wisconsin Public Television is airing the first of two debates between the gubernatorial candidates on Friday.  Some of our DAP members will bring information to hand out at the Forum Wednesday at the Library.

     

    The question was brought up about the smaller lawn signs we have been handing out being printed by a non-union shop.  SPARC in Sun Prairie refused to take them because they are not union made.  Karen still has fifty that she says she can get to people in Milwaukee who want them.

     

    (On a trip to Platteville, John St. says he saw many of our blue and white 4’x4’ signs in farmers’ fields along the road.  He says there were many more Burke signs than Walker signs.)

     

    Marcia asked each member present for a commitment to whatever level of campaign activity they can muster during these last few weeks before the election.

     

    Some members are making plans to continue voter registrations in the weeks to come.  Peter had some interesting things to say about voter registration and personal anecdotes to share.  We are beginning to appreciate Peter’s sense of humor at the meetings.  J

     

    Ginny and Liz have talked to the staff at the DeForest/Windsor Area Community/Senior Center about providing rides to the polls and helping with voter ID information.

     

    Don’t forget the new site for our next meeting at John Stanley’s house.  See you there.  We will debrief some more on the candidates’ forum and elections, among other topics of interest.